Reaching all the way back to the classical and medieval past, Teaching the Commons chronicles ideas and resulting policies that have shaped contemporary rural life and living in much of the industrial West. The book examines philosophical assumptions and charts their evolution into conventional wisdom about how human beings should meet their needs, govern themselves, and educate their children. Further, this book examines how policies emanating from these assumptions have slowly eroded the vitality of rural communities, finding that if there is sufficient interest in saving what is left of rural America, an educational agenda at the local level needs to be embraced by America's rural schools. Using concrete ideas generated in rural schools across the country, Teaching the Commons demonstrates that it is possible to simultaneously revitalize rural schools and communities. Through concerted curricular and pedagogical attention to place-the immediate locality-schools can contribute to rebuilding community in rural America on an educational foundation. Arguing that vital, self-governing communities rather than self-interested individuals represent the greatest hope for American democracy, Teaching the Commons lays out an institutional foundation that would turn the cultivation of civic virtue into an educational goal every bit as important and attainable as education for success in the economic market.